Shaping The Future: Dubai Internet City Executive Director Ammar Al Malik
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More than 6,000 visitors from the MENA region and beyond came together for the sixth edition of STEP Conference, one of the largest gatherings in the region for the tech, digital, and entertainment industry, held this year at Dubai Internet City. On the sidelines of STEP Conference 2018, Entrepreneur Middle East got a chance to talk to Ammar Al Malik, Executive Director of Dubai Internet City to learn his impressions on STEP 2018, and how the entity he leads is helping shape and build the future of Dubai, UAE, and the wider Arab world.
“We’re now reaching a stage where we want to build startups from Dubai Internet City, to go into the region,” says Al Malik, adding that there are quite a few notable entities who are making a name for themselves from Dubai Internet City and their startup hub and co-working space in5, but they want to scale that further. “It’s not only developing the industry in terms of real estate, this has more to do in developing a community, an integrated community, an ecosystem that will last much longer than we have started.”
Al Malik also commended startups at Dubai Internet City’s in5 for leveraging the advantages they have and that’s being presented to them, be it with the excellent location that is Dubai Internet City, or the mentorship or networking opportunities at their disposal. “At the end of the day, you can always provide certain support to startups, but the rest is up to the startups themselves. They have to go out, they have to work really hard,” says Al Malik, noting how in5’s committee of selecting startups, which includes academia, private companies and governmental entities, ensure that selected entrepreneurs are “not only serious, but has the highest chance of success.”
His tips to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Do it now, go now,” says Al Malik, “Don’t delay it, the more you wait, the harder it is later on.” He continues, “It’s not an easy road, the way we see it in in5 and Dubai Internet City, is that the people who are literally working day and night will have the highest rate of success. So do it sooner, start as soon as you can. Take a leap of faith, I think is the right word. Don’t delay it, but expect that it’s not gonna be easy.”